By Sian Shin
Two years ago, Alan Senneker joined St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church, which marked his first experience being a member of a church that is affirming of the LGBTQ+ community. Growing up in a very evangelical family, Senneker said he always knew that being gay was something that he could never be open about.
“I just never found a place that I felt safe or unconditionally accepted,” he said. “There was always that caveat. And I always knew that unless a particular group expressed open acceptance and not qualified acceptance, that was not a place I wanted to be.”
St. Andrew’s-Wesley is one of several churches in Vancouver that are affirming of the LGBTQ+ community. Within the last ten years, the change of Vancouver churches becoming more publicly and explicitly LGBTQ-affirming has been dramatic, according to Brian Thorpe, a retired minister of Pacific Spirit United Church.
“I think a lot of us are surprised,” he said. “If you told me back in the 1980s that by 2020, the whole movement would be so mainstream, that same-gender marriage would be accepted not just in churches, but in society as well, I don’t think we anticipated that things would move that quickly.”
This interactive map features church leaders and queer members of five Vancouver churches across different Christian denominations that are working to be more publicly and explicitly LGBTQ-affirming.
Sian Shin is a social justice reporter at Medill, covering the LGBTQ2S+ community in Vancouver. You can follow her on Twitter at @sianshin.